Useful things to have in your camera bag, other than cameras and lenses!

Camera? Check. Phone? Check. Bin bags? Err …

Preparing for a shoot always includes carefully packing your camera bag. But what exactly should you try to squeeze in to all those handy pockets?

And why might those bin bags come in handy?

Here we delve deep into the camera bag essentials that might just become your shoot superheroes.

The bulk of your bag must always of course contain all your kit.

Alongside your beloved cameras, you have lenses, spare memory cards and batteries, a microfibre cloth and flash guns. 

What else?

Depending on your type of photography and what situations you might find yourself in, you probably already have some proven favourites.

Maybe as a specialist wedding photographer you never go anywhere without a stash of tissues and a spare packet of confetti.

Or if you spend your days capturing a newborn’s magical first days, you never dream of leaving the house without at least one packet of baby wipes.

Whatever your niche, here are the camera bag essentials (apart from tissues and wipes) we heartily recommend:

Torch

Indispensable in low light and on night shoots, a torch is your wingman for all things light-related. If you’re using an off-camera flash, you can use it to help you focus and then switch it off for the actual shot. And of course, they always come in handy during a power cut.

Safety Pins

Random? Maybe. Useful? Definitely. Safety pins are your saviour for holding something in place, tidying loose fabric or mitigating a major wardrobe malfunction.

Penknife

Your all-in-one friend, a penknife can be called upon in many an emergency. Alongside the blade, it can compactly hide a pair of scissors, tweezers, carabiner and even a corkscrew if you fancy making a post-shoot toast with your client.   

They’re especially helpful on fashion shoots for snipping off labels and loose threads to make every garment look impeccable.

First Aid Kit

We’re not suggesting the whole works here, but it’s wise to carry a selection of painkillers, plasters and antiseptic cream to soothe minor ailments.

And don’t underestimate how hay fever can creep up on you and possibly wreck a shoot. A packet of antihistamine tablets might make the difference between getting beautiful images and having to reschedule.

Business Cards

Your clients already know who you are but what about the people who walk past your shoot and show an interest? You could just be in a park or school hall but if you’re in the foyer of a multi-national corporation, you’ll want to be ready for every opportunity. 

Shoot Schedule

Even when you can access your schedule on your phone, having a physical copy to stick up on a wall, stuff in your pocket or pass to an assistant and refer to quickly is super-helpful.

With Light Blue, you can easily print off a summary of all the crucial details for the day so you never miss a shot.

Pen and Paper

We love time-saving tech as much as, OK probably more than, the next person, but we’re not ready to abandon pen and paper just yet. In these mobile-dependent days, you could be the only person in the room to have a simple notebook where you can scribble down notes and ideas. 

Snacks and Water

Your talented photographic brain needs fuelling so don’t forget to pack plenty of water and some snacks to nibble on. Nobody likes a hangry photographer …

Bin Bags

Thought we’d forgotten about the bin bags? Apart from using them to actually put your shoot rubbish in, they double up as makeshift ponchos for when the heavens unexpectedly decide to open.

They’ll also come in handy as a barrier between client and soggy bench or log, keeping them dry and reasonably comfortable when they sit down. Just keep the tell-tale signs out of shot – clear/transparent bags make that a lot easier! 

Being prepared doesn’t have to mean carrying a bag that looks like you’re off on a three-week hike.

But it could mean that your clients are dazzled by your helpful, organised approach to the shoot and inspire them to leave you a five-star review.